The Syrian Arab Army’s 1st Armored Division – in coordination with Hezbollah and the National Defense Forces (NDF) – continued their aggressive offensive in the resort city of Al-Zabadani, attacking a large agglomeration of Islamist fighters from the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” in the southern hills.
Clashes began at dawn on Thursday, when the 1st Division and their allies stormed the Jabhat Al-Nusra controlled hill of Tal ‘Abdullah, capturing the area after a fierce firefight that persisted for almost three hours.
During the offensive at Tal ‘Abdullah, another contingent from the SAA’s 1st Division launched an attack on Jabhat Al-Nusra and Liwaa Suqour Al-Zabadani fighters entrenched at the Sindayaan Castle in northeast Zabadani; this assault resulted in the death of 22 enemy combatants, including two Lebanese nationals: Jasseem Nouress Al-Shibli and ‘Abdel-Waleed Basheer Farhat.
After combatting the Islamist forces for most off the morning, the SAA’s 1st Division was able to take complete control of the Sindayaan Castle, forcing Jabhat Al-Nusra and Liwaa Suqour Al-Zabadani to retreat south towards the city outskirts.
Inside Al-Zabadani, the SAA’s small Republican Guard force from the 103rd Brigades took control of the majority of the Association Quarter in the eastern sector of the city after fierce clashes with Harakat ‘Ahrar Al-Sham.